Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If I had a fishing supply store I'd call it "Keeping it Reel"

I'm continually surprised by the volume of women I encounter who are still enslaved. I'm not talking about women who are enslaved to obvious sin. I encounter them frequently as well and I am among them sometimes, regularly if I'm real honest. What I am surprised to encounter are women who are enslaved to their own image. Obsessed with trying to be the "perfect Christian girl." An oxy moron in and of itself.

For generations "The Church" (not one specific), our culture, and societal pressures have told women to conceal their true emotions. We're all supposed to be little June Cleavers. Little Pearl wearing, pie baking, husband loving, kid driving, June Cleavers. There is nothing wrong with being those things, in fact, a lot of them appeal to me, I love pearls, but the idea that a woman can be perfectly all those things, all the time is ridiculous. That's why an entire generation of women concealed their true emotions with quaaludes and martinis. Take my great grandmother for instance. She was raised to believe she wasn't a sinner (when I can tell you from first hand experience, she was). Sinners were bad people who murdered and she was a good armenian girl, not a sinner.

Things aren't exactly the same. We're not just expected to be the perfect wife anymore. We're expected to be the perfect employees, room moms, soccer moms, students, and the perfect Christian women.

We've come a ways since then, but not that far. Now it's ok for women to be sinners, but it's not ok for them to say HOW they sin. They are very generally sinners. Not that we are to boast in sin, but can we be honest about it? Can we be honest about the process God has us in? With the veil torn we come not as male or female, but one in Christ (Galations 3:28). Which means, we have the same responsibility to fervently pursue Holiness. We can't pursue what we won't allow the Spirit of God to search out in us. We can't sort out sin we aren't willing to face head on. We can't cleanse ourselves of what we aren't willing to shine light on.

It's time for women to stop monopolizing their time with how to fix the men in their lives and start admitting they have work to do on themselves.

I'm sick of seeing women obsessed with trying to pretend they are perfect. Always happy, always together, seemingly unacquainted with pain and sorrow. Unwilling to admit how hard life can be. Not in an effort to discredit God's ability to meet our needs in every circumstance, cause He surely is, but acknowledging the elephant in the room that this sanctification process is and should be hard. We are trying to overcome our very nature. At the very least, considering the pain of this world and the amount of people who have NO HOPE, NO FOOD, we should at the very least be somewhat burdened for them at times.

Paul was joyful in the Lord, but He wasn't bubbly all the time. Many of his writing is quite melancholy actually, because he was experiencing physical pain and because he was burdened for the lost that surrounded him.

Don't misunderstand me there is nothing wrong with being happy, or being joyful. It's one of the fruits of the spirit and we should be joyful. And despite what a lot of my writing sounds like sometimes, at the end of the day I am very satisfied. I think some women hide behind a false sense of joy. In doing so, they cause those who are suffering, those who are brave enough or forced to face their sin head on, to think that they could never attain that level of holiness. The truth is they can't, cause it's fake.

I aspire to be the kind of woman who is honest about her sin, but doesn't make excuses for it. Who is acquainted with pain, but maintains a peace that God is in control. Who pursues Holiness with tenacity and who allows her attitude and heart to be teachable and protest louder than her mouth. I'm going to be honest, I'm not there yet, but I see a few women that are...

Darlene Hanson, Cindy Heffner, & Wendi Mooney, just to name a few, so I know they exist.

What I'd like to see... Real women. Honest women. Authentic women. As Paul says in Second Corinthians: "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody." 2 Cor. 3: 1-3

Paul allowed those he invested in to be the testimony of the quality and depth of his walk with God.

So, ladies, let's allow those around us to be the testimony of our walks... not just our facebook posts. Let us desire to be honest with ourselves and with others about the state we are truly in, so we can experience true growth and true community together.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Energy, or Lack There Of

29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.-Col. 1:29

Laboring to and for our own end is exhausting. Our energy is limited, especially when it comes to doing good. To accomplish what we were left here to accomplish. The gospel: To hope in the coming of Christ, which produces faith and love, which are abound to others that they may know Jesus is who He says He is. What a relief that it is not in my energy that these things are accomplished, or God would be quite limited to my emotions and mood. What a reminder that when I am emotionally and physically exhausted, when I'm at the end of myself, my efforts, what I'm capable of, I'm in the perfect place for Him to begin the works he always intended for me.

Why do I start to believe the lie that I can do anything good apart from Him? Probably because I can, at least for awhile. But like us, our efforts die. They only last so long. The energy to do good expires. The work that He does lasts. So often, I start to believe the lie that I don't have the time to spend with Christ, because I'm too busy doing "His" work. How He must laugh at the energy I expel to accomplish nothing. I have the ear of the creator, and yet, I ask Him not.

Friends, lets stop struggling to no avail to do what is right and seek Him today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dear, Sweet November

November is one of my favorite months and I'm not just saying that. It's at least top three for sure. The smells and sounds refresh me in a way my words wouldn't do justice. Where I live there are a lot of oak trees that shed their leaves this time of year. There is something captivating about the growth and changing of these trees. It mirrors for me the potential we have as human beings for growth. A challenge that is equally daunting and beautiful. Beautiful because of the opportunity for change and the possibility for each individual to overcome past wounds, present shortcomings, and avoid future pitfalls; and daunting because unlike the trees who shed their leaves without thought or effort, we must choose to shed ours.

The leaves that I grew last year, may not serve me any longer. The trees must loose their leaves to gain more. In the same way I must let go of the parts of me that served me in my youth, or may never have served me at all, to make room for the growth God has for me.It may be time to shed them and the only way I will is if I actively seek God's counsel, the counsel of trusted friends, and continue to look at myself through fresh eyes.

Can I be honest, I'm excited and terrified. Cause if I'm really being honest here, it's way easier, and more comfortable for me to just stay here. To be an evergreen. To maintain. The continual pruning and growing process is exhausting, even on it's best day, but I'm back, cause it's worth it. Cause it's better. Cause even though it's hard my Spirit can't stay put any longer.

Lord, may I be teachable this November. Humble. Open to shedding the structures and forms that may have served me in the past, but are now inhibiting the growth that You have for me. And don't let me be done, till I'm with You.